LOS ANGELES – A Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation member is seeking nearly $64,000 in attorneys’ fees in the wake of a judge’s earlier dismissal on free-speech grounds of a lawsuit filed by a coalition of Black Lives Matter chapters against the foundation, accusing it of defrauding the local activist groups.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick heard arguments on the case in April, took the case under submission and issued her dismissal in June of the complaint filed in September 2022 by Black Lives Matter Grassroots Inc. Also named as a defendant was Shalomya Bowers, a consultant and foundation board member.
The judge also dismissed the part of the case against Bowers, finding that the plaintiff “fails to establish it has standing to bring its claims and therefore plaintiff fails to establish a probability of prevailing on its claims.”
The dismissal motions were brought under the state’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) law, which is intended to prevent people from using courts, and potential threats of a lawsuit, to intimidate those who are exercising their First Amendment rights.
Bowers’ attorneys filed a request for attorneys’ fees on his behalf on Monday.
“Bowers’ attorneys’ fees and costs are reasonable and represent the cost for him to defend himself against baseless accusations that were personally directed to him in the context of this lawsuit, which was `slapped down’ due to it arising from constitutionally protected activity and having no merit to the accusations,” according to Bowers’ attorneys’ court papers.
BLM Grassroots Inc. has appealed Bowick’s ruling. The organization alleged that the foundation, which has been a clearinghouse for donations to support BLM over the years, has fundraised off the work of the chapters, but mismanaged the funds and shut local chapters out of decision-making.